Professionals Working for Change

Forensic pathologist John Plunkett, at an Innocence Network meeting

Forensic pathologist Dr. John Plunkett in Minnesota saw his first shaken-baby case in the 1980s:  He had already researched the literature and reached his own conclusions by the time the Louise Woodward case made shaken baby syndrome a national story in 1997.

Dr. Plunkett, who was profiled in Minnesota Medicine in 2009, has organized an on-line interest group for physicians and other experts who question the classic model. Many of the medical and biomechanical experts who testify for the defense belong to this group, which helps them all stay on top of the new literature and cases. They have held occasional conferences under the name Evidence-Based Medicine Symposium.

In the past few years, the Innocence Network has recognized the danger of false convictions in infant head-injury cases. Under the leadership of law professors Adele Bernard and Keith Findley, the organization has formed an interest group for attorneys and has found funding to hire a national coordinator for shaken baby defense. Attorneys can contact Katherine Judson for sample filings and referrals to experts, at

Individual Innocence Projects have been appealing shaken baby cases, with some success (see, for example, the story of Drayton Witt). The Medill Innocence Project is collecting information for use in defending future cases.

If you are not familiar with the debate surrounding the model of shaken baby syndrome now used in the courtroom, please see the home page of this site.

One response to “Professionals Working for Change

  1. Pingback: New Cases Exasperate Me | On SBS

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